Department of English

Dr Paul Sheehan

Paul Sheehan

Position: Associate Professor in English
Contact Details
Office: W6A 622
Phone: +61 (2) 9850 8757
Fax: +61 (2) 9850 6593


BA (Hons) NSW, PhD London


Paul Sheehan publishes and teaches in various areas of literature from the late nineteenth century to the present, particularly the changing cultures of modernism and postmodernism. His research and teaching interests also include literary and cultural theory, modern drama, and film studies.


Paul Sheehan has published two monographs on historical or 'first-wave' literary modernism, and continues to produce articles and essays in this area. He is currently completing two book projects on late, postwar modernism, addressing not only the literary field but also film and musical works. A third work-in-progress, tentatively entitled 'Transnational Coetzee', is taking shape under the aegis of a collaborative, ARC-funded Discovery Project. Several articles have already been published, as the first fruits of this project; the major outputs will be an edited collection of essays and a co-written, book-length study.




Modernism and the Aesthetics of Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Modernism, Narrative and Humanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002; paperback repr. 2008)

As editor: Journal of Beckett Studies, special issue: "Post-Archival Beckett: Genre, Process, Value", 26.1 (Spring 2017)

As co-editor (with Helen Groth): Textual Practice, special issue: "The Uses of Anachronism", 26.4 (Aug 2012)

As co-editor (with Helen Groth): Rethinking Literary History (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010)

As editor: Becoming Human: New Perspectives on the Inhuman Condition (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2003)

Journal articles

'Labyrinths of Uncertainty: True Detective and the Metaphysics of Investigation' (with Lauren Alice), Clues: A Journal of Detection 35.2 (2017); 28-39

'No Direction Home: Molloy, Travelogue, and Nomadic Modernism', Journal of Beckett Studies 26.1 (Spring 2017): 24-38.

'Introduction: Beckett's Afterlives', Journal of Beckett Studies 26.1 (Spring 2017): 1-9.

'Scenes of Writing: Beckett and the Technology of Inscription', Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd'hui 29.1 (2017): 138-149.

'The World, the Text, and the Author: Coetzee and Untranslatability' (with Elleke Boehmer and Lynda Ng), European Journal of English Studies 20.3 (Aug 2016) 192-206

'Coetzee & Co.: Failure, Lies and Autobiography', Textual Practice 30.3 (May 2016) 451-468.

'Determined Vandalism: Politics, Limits and Literary Remains', Critical Quarterly 56.2 (July 2014): 17-25.  

'A History of Smoke: W. G. Sebald and the Memory of Fire', Textual Practice 26.4 (Aug 2012): 721-37.

'Introduction: Timeliness and Untimeliness' (with Helen Groth), Textual Practice 26.4 (Aug 2012): 571-85.

'The Disasters of Youth: Coetzee and Geomodernism', Twentieth -Century Literature 57 (1), Spring 2011: 20-33

'Against the Image: Herzog and the Troubling Politics of the Screen Animal' in SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism 117, vol. 37.3 (2008): 117-36.

'Images Must Travel Further: Bataille and Blanchot Read Beckett' in Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui 19 (2008): 113-22.  

'The Pleasures of Despair: Beckett's Ambiguous Legacy' in Textus XIX (2006): 493-506.

'A Malady of Dreaming: Aesthetics and Criminality in The Picture of Dorian Gray' in Irish Studies Review 13.3 (August 2005): 333-40.

'Nothing Is More Real: Experiencing Theory in the Texts for Nothing' in Journal of Beckett Studies (Fall 2000 / Spring 2001) 10 (1 / 2): 89-104. 

'Marx, Money, and Monstrosity in Great Expectations' in Q/W/E/R/T/Y 9 (October 1999): 97-104.

Book chapters

'Domestic Holocaust: Michael Haneke's Intractable Class War' in John Attridge and Helen Rydstrand (eds), Modernist Work: Labor, Aesthetics, and the Work of Art (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019; forthcoming)

'Atmospheric Changes: Proust, Mind-reading, and Errancy' in Ricardo Alfonso (ed.), Modernist Narrative and the Theory of Mind (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2018; forthcoming)

'Einstein, Relativity and Literary Modernism' in Ulrika Maude and Mark Nixon (eds), The Bloomsbury Companion to Modernist Literature (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018; forthcoming)

'Myth, Absence, Haunting: Towards a Zoopoetics of Extinction' in Kári Driscoll and Eva Hoffmann (eds), What is Zoopoetics? Texts, Bodies, Entanglement (London: Palgrave, 2018 ).

'Coetzee's Republic: Plato, Borges, and Migrant Memory in The Childhood of Jesus' (with Lynda Ng) in Jennifer Rutherford and Anthony Uhlmann (eds), J. M. Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus: The Ethics of Ideas and Things (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017) 

'Western Scourge: Myth, Language and Law in Blood Meridian and Deadwood' in Louise Jillet (ed.), Cormac McCarthy: Borders and Landscapes (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016; 

'Enigma Variations: Mallarmé, Joyce and the Aesthetics of Encryption' in Sean Pryor and David Trotter (eds), Writing, Medium, Machine: Modern Technographies (Open Humanities Press, 2016; 

'Posthuman Bodies' in Ulrika Maude and David Hillman, The Cambridge Companion to the Body in Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

'Time as Protagonist in To the Lighthouse' in Allison Pease (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to To the Lighthouse (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

'Continental Drift: The Clash between Literary Theory and Cognitive Literary Studies' in Chris Danta and Helen Groth (eds), Mindful Aesthetics. Literature and the Science of Mind (New York: Bloomsbury, 2014)

'Waiting for Nothing: Commitment, Resistance, and Godot's Underground Ancestry' in Ranjan Ghosh (ed.), In Dialogue with Godot: Waiting and Other Thoughts (Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2013)

'Subterranean Folkway Blues: Ralph Ellison's Mythology of Deception' in John Attridge and Rod Rosenquist (eds), Incredible Modernism: Literature, Trust and Deception (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013)

'Modernism: Dublin / Paris / London' in Anthony Uhlmann (ed.), Beckett in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

'Road, Fire, Trees: Cormac McCarthy's Post-America' in Julian Murphet and Mark Steven (eds), Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy's The Road (London and New York: Continuum, 2012)

'Introduction' (with Helen Groth) in Rethinking Literary History (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010)

'Murder for Murder's Sake: Thomas De Quincey and the Work of Darkness' in Anthony Uhlmann, Helen Groth, et al. (eds), Literature and Sensation (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009)

'Beckett's Ghost Dramas: Monitoring a Phenomenology of Sleep' in Ulrika Maude and Matthew Feldman (eds), Beckett and Phenomenology (New York: Continuum, 2009)

'A World without Monsters: Beckett and the Ethics of Cruelty' in Russell Smith (ed.), Beckett and Ethics (New York: Continuum, 2008)

'Births for Nothing: Beckett's Ontology of Parturition' in Stanley Gontarski and Anthony Uhlmann (eds), Beckett after Beckett (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2006)

'Immanence, Autonomy and Integral Anomalies in The Matrix Trilogy', chapter in Stacy Gillis (ed.), The Matrix Trilogy: Cyberpunk Reloaded (London: Wallflower Press, 2005)

'Postmodernism and Philosophy' chapter in Steven Connor (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Postmodernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)

'Contingencies of Humanness' in Paul Sheehan (ed.), Becoming Human: New Perspectives on the Inhuman Condition (Westport, Conn. and London: Praeger, 2003).

Encyclopedia Entries and other publications

'The Future of Literary Thinking', Textual Practice 30.7 (2016): 1178-1179.

'World War I', 'Collège de sociologie' and 'Albert Einstein'. Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. Ed. Stephen Ross. London: Routledge, 2015. Web.

'Existentialism', 'Humanism' and 'Zoocentrism'. The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett. Eds. Chris Ackerley and Stan Gontarski. New York: Grove Press, 2004. Reprinted as The Faber Companion to Samuel Beckett. London: Faber & Faber, 2007.


Review of Reading Heidegger's 'Black Notebooks 1931-1941' edited by Ingo Farin and Jeff Malpas, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms 23.6 (2018): 726-28.

Review of Modernism and Its Merchandise: The Spanish Avant-Garde and Material Culture, 1920-1930 by Juli Highfill, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research 21.2 (2015).

Review of At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland by Sarah Cole, Review of English Studies 65 (269), (2014).

Review of Here and Now: Letters 2008-2011 by Paul Auster and J. M. Coetzee, American Book Review 35.1 (Dec 2013).

Review of Beckett, Technology and the Body (pdf) by Ulrika Maude. Journal of Beckett Studies 19 (1) April 2010: 139-43.

Review of Beckett at 100: Revolving It All (pdf) by Linda Ben-Zvi and Angela Moorjani (eds), The European Legacy 15 (5) 2010: 693-94.

Review of Essai sur l'indicible: Jabès, Duras, Blanchot by Marie-Chantal Killeen, Colloquy 10 (2005). Link:

Review of Psychoanalysis, Psychiatry and Modern Literature by Kylie Valentine, Australian Humanities Review 34 (Jan-Feb) 2005. Link:


2015-2017 ARC Discovery Project Grant (with Elleke Boehmer [Oxford] and Lynda Ng [UWS]), "Transnational Coetzee: Revisioning World Literature through the Margins", $169, 560.

2010-2011 ARC Discovery Project Grant: "Continental Theory in the Wake of Cognitive Literary Studies", $73,236.

2009-2011 Macquarie University Research Development Grant: "Literary Modernism and Philosophy, 1910-1950", $34,706.

2003-2006 Macquarie University Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship.


Donald Sillence, "Predictive Text: The Future of Narrative Fiction" (passed 2017).

Nathan Finger, "The Great War on Stage" (passed 2016).

Jennifer Simkins, "Modern Myth Creation in the Science Fiction of Wells, Clarke, Dick and Herbert" (passed 2015).

Joel Scott, "'Less Than Minor: Translation and / as Experimental Writing'" (passed 2014; awarded VC's Commendation).

James Mackenzie, "Aesthetics of Prophecy: The Beat Generation and Contemporary Culture" (passed 2013).

Michael Austin, "The Literature of Exception: Australian Post-9/11 Political Fiction" (passed 2012).

Niven Kuman, "Corpore in absentia: Anonymity and the Literature of Denial" (passed 2012).

Lucyna Swiatek, ""Nietzschean Auto-Agnosticism: A Genealogy of the Becoming Self" (passed 2011).

Dawne Yule, "The Production of Joy: Joy and the Poetry of Yeats, Harwood and Josephi" (passed 2011).

Gustavo Generani, "Imperial Horrors: Dialectic of British Gothic Literature (1885-1900)" (passed 2010).


ENGL106 Literature and the Screen

ENGL202 20th Century Drama in Context

ENGL305 Modernism

ENGL702 20th Century Literature

ENGL704 Literary Theory

FOAR701 Posthumanism


  • Dept of English Research Director
  • Convenor of English Masters of Research Program